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Published: Thursday, 5/30/2013

COLUMBUS

Szollosi steps down from Ohio House

Dem lawmaker says family now his focus

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF
Szollosi Szollosi
THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY Enlarge | Buy This Photo

COLUMBUS — Shortly before heading for the doors to leave the Ohio House for the last time Wednesday, Rep. Matt Szollosi (D., Oregon) turned to his wife and three children watching in the balcony.

“Now it’s time for me to move in a different direction, and my family is really my focus,” he said. “Daddy’s going to be home every night, guys, and it’s going to be great.”

That was followed by a cry of “Yea!” from one of his children.

Officially, Mr. Szollosi’s last day as state representative is Friday. He is stepping down with a year and a half left in his final term representing the 46th District and moving from Oregon to Columbus to become executive director of the new Affiliated Construction Trades of Ohio.

He also walked away from his role as assistant minority leader, the No. 2 Democrat.

House Democrats officially swore in their new leadership slate, replacing Mr. Szollosi and Minority Leader Armond Budish (D., Beachwood).

Mr. Budish is expected to announce his candidacy for Cuyahoga County executive today.

The shakeup led to the election of Rep. Michael Ashford (D., Toledo) as minority whip, the third-highest-ranking post among Democrats. Rounding out the new slate are Rep. Tracy Heard (D., Columbus) as minority leader, Rep. Debbie Phillips (D., Athens) as assistant minority leader, and Rep. Dan Ramos (D., Lorain) as assistant minority whip.

Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo), who represents the neighboring 45th District, said Wednesday she has not decided yet whether she will ask her colleagues to appoint her to replace Mr. Szollosi.

Republican-controlled redistricting in 2011 left both her and Mr. Szollosi in what is now the 46th.

Ms. Fedor opted to move to the 45th and won election there.

The 46th District stretches from Jerusalem Township and Oregon east of Toledo through parts of East and South Toledo to pick up Maumee, Holland, and Springfield Township to the west.

Mr. Szollosi offered this parting advice to his colleagues:

“Collectively, you can have policy differences,” he said. “You can have political differences, but they should not evolve into personal differences or attacks.

“We have a very diverse state. Each of us answers to the people who send us here. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your colleagues to try to get a better understanding of different perspectives.”

Contact Jim Provance at:

jprovance@theblade.com

or 614-221-0496.



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